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Getting the big picture of AI in the workplace

AI has been on the tip of every business leader’s tongue, taking the world by storm. Businesses are slowly beginning to try and adopt but appear to be losing sight of what is most important to make a difference. An AI implementation can be costly and time-consuming, offering huge opportunities if done well, and significant risk if not considered carefully.

For businesses that are eyeing the technology, it is important to determine whether AI is right for you and your business. What works for one company might not work for another.

With great power comes great responsibility, and that runs double for something as powerful as AI. Often, it is not as easy to plug in something as significant as AI. We at CI&T pride ourselves on our expertise and counsel, giving our customers the very best recommendations for their business. Any AI implementation must be carefully considered, both for their pros, their cons and their challenges.

Pro #1 - Work that matters

AI saves you time and money, taking care of the mundane and letting employees focus on the work that matters most.

● Imagine shedding all that data entry

● Spending less time on common customer queries

BUT consider if your work is even automatable. Some industries like accounting, law and bookkeeping may benefit from AI, but some raise ethical questions or can even breach customer trust

● AI cannot completely replace creative work, and customers can be sensitive when it comes to wanting to deal with a human as opposed to a robot

TIP - Start small, trial the potential use case and whether AI can save you time and money. Then when the benefit is proven, scale slowly.

Pro #2 - Digesting Data

AI can help business leaders process and visualise a lot of data and information quickly and support rapid decision-making.

● Identify trends from a mountain of data

● Unearth outliers and get alerted towards gradual and invisible shifts in operations, customer decision making and more.

BUT consider if your data warrants the need for AI.

● Do you have enough data that is worth an investment in AI?

● Does the use of data require strict oversight and regulation?

TIP - Understand your industry and the financial, data management or privacy regulations inherent

Pro #3 - Answers over questions

AI can provide business answers and offer solutions instead of problems and searches

● AI has the power to offer solutions and remedies for issues encountered

● Answer frequently asked questions from customers or staffers

BUT consider that an AI’s response is only as good as the data it has been provided with

● To produce an effective customer service solution, a significant amount of training data is required

● AI cannot produce a completely new solution, instead, it builds off past iterative work

● AI generally trends towards inherent biases over time as small selective biases in training data and new inputs are exacerbated over time

TIP - Update your data regularly, to mitigate the prevalence of bias. Better yet, source data from multiple reputable sources

Pro #4 - Skip writer's block altogether

AI can support teams to begin implementing information faster, whether that be a 20-slide presentation or a 1,000-word blog.

● Produce creative and fun website copy in seconds

● Get the bulk of work done faster

BUT consider that AI is not perfect when it comes to content generation, and while it can appear intelligent, there can be times when it falls short of human comprehension

● AI tends to be “confidently incorrect”, often hallucinating data, personages or plagiarises existing work, misinformation or falsifies details to provide an answer

● Pay particular attention to whether your work requires accurate source quoting, as AI has “hallucinated” sources that do not exist

TIP - Focus on making a difference. AI will be ineffective if you spend more time checking than it would take writing yourself

Pro #5 - Keeping ducks in a row

AI can help teams stay on track, offering reminders, managing workloads and ensuring work is completed on time.

● AI can support teams and manage workloads on priority and meet operational deadlines

● Allocating resources efficiently and giving managers tools and visibility on workflow

BUT consider that AI can only manage workflow against set parameters.

● AI cannot take into account unprogrammed performance considerations, like learning curves and burnout

● AI is heavily prone to unexpected disruptions to workflow

TIP - Training your workforce will be paramount to making the most of AI

AI is not a plug-and-play kind of tool. Business owners need to be aware of AI’s potential, its limitations, its risks and dangers and how it relates to the business’s industry. It is a technology that has the capacity to be revolutionary but might not be applicable to every organisation or industry.

Moreover, AI can only be as effective as the team that manages it and translates the efficiencies that come about from AI into genuine business transformations.

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